(CHICAGO) July 31, 2014 – NAMA affirmed its strong opposition to a bill introduced by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) this week in the U.S. House that would impose a national tax on sugar-sweetened beverages
DeLauro’s bill, the Sugar Sweetened Beverages Tax Act of 2014 or “SWEET ACT,” would levy a one-cent tax on manufacturers, producers and distributors for every teaspoon of sugar in most beverages. The law, which would exempt drinks including milk and 100 percent fruit juices, targets beverages with added sugar, marking the most significant federal response since the 2009 proposal to link a similar tax to the Affordable Care Act
“NAMA is strongly opposed to any excise taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, especially at the federal level,” said Eric Dell, NAMA’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. “Taxes of any kind on sugar-sweetened beverages unfairly target industries that have worked to be part of the solution surrounding nutritional education and healthy choices. It will also create new liabilities for vending and food service companies, which could result in loss of critical jobs and taxable revenue, and will drive up food and beverage costs,” Dell continued.
NAMA also maintains that taxes on beverages are an ineffective way to encourage healthy lifestyles or combat obesity among consumers.
“In fact, according to government data, sugar-sweetened beverages account for less than seven percent of calories in the average American diet. A federal tax of this nature is a classic example of the kind of government overreach that completely dismisses the role of consumer choice and responsibility,” Dell said. “Furthermore this tax increase will have a disproportionate impact on those who can least afford to pay the higher costs. Middle and lower income citizens who spend a higher percentage of their incomes on foods and beverages will be hardest hit.”
Moving forward, NAMA will continue its mission to educate consumers on healthy choices through its' nationally-recognized “Fit Pick” program, and to support efforts including the American Beverage Association’s “Calories Count” Beverage Vending Program.
Founded in 1936, NAMA is the association representing the $42 billion U.S. vending and refreshment service industry. With more than 1800 member companies – including many of the world’s most recognized brands – NAMA provides advocacy, education and research for its membership. Visit NAMA on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.